This is the third and final book in the iBook Asimov Robots spinoff series. The first two were Asimov’s Mirage and Asimov’s Chimera. Like the second one, this is better than the first and has a nice flow to the plot line. The story also is easier to believe than those used in previous spinoffs such as the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Weirdly, this is the first of the books in those spinoff series to really use sex as a plot element. The other books haven’t been celibate, but they also haven’t been as in your face as this one. That was probably the weakest part of the book, because those parts felt clumsy and extraneous.
This is the second book in the iBooks spinoff series based on Asimov’s robot mysteries and the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Overall it fits into the Foundation Series acceptably. This book is a mystery much like Mark’s first Mirage.
I think overall this book is better written than Mirage, and is certainly better plotted than the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. The book is believable and entertaining, without having to suspend too much disbelief. I enjoyed it, although the book isn’t important to the development of Foundation Series overall.
If I was to name one flaw with the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series, it would have to be that they’re not very good. They’re lackluster, have difficult to believe plots, very simple structure, and are overall poorly thought through. Its a similar sensation to that I feel when I read the tie-in books written after Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero series. I feel a little sorry for the writers in later books in these series, because I suspect their hands were tied by the poor decisions of previous authors (similarly to the mess that Bear’s Foundation and Chaos had to dig that series out after Benford’s tragically terrible Foundation’s Fear).
Robot City and Robots and Aliens were disappointments because I read Roger MacBride Allen’s Caliban series before them, and Caliban is ok. Not awesome, but ok.
I say all of this as an introduction to Mirage. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been wading through Asimov robot tie-ins from other authors for a while now, and some of them are not very good. That’s why finding Mirage was such a delight. Its well written, has a similar style as Asimov’s own writing, reuses characters and plot elements from previous tie-in books sufficiently to acknowledge their existence without getting bogged down by the poor decisions of those previous series. Its an engaging read, and I’m glad I stuck through these various series long enough to find it.
My only complaint with this book is that the epilogue is confusing and doesn’t align with my understanding of the end of the story.
These are books written in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Universe by Roger MacBride Allen. These books are actually better than the Robot City Series, in that they at least explore issues that Asimov himself touched upon.
This book is pretty good. I’d say its the best of the three Second Foundation Trilogy books in fact. Unfortunately, you need to read the other two in order for this one to make any sense, which is a shame because the first one sucked, and the second one was ok.
A lot of loose ends get cleaned up in this book. Why did Earth get abandoned? Why did everyone forget their history? Why is Trantor built much like the cities in the Naked Sun? Why are there all those habitable worlds for the galactic empire to reside on? It seems odd that there would be 25 million habitable worlds out there. There are other examples as well, but I wont bore you with them all.
Another good bit of this book is the time line of all Asimov Foundation stories at the back of the book. I am sure it would have been useful to know about that earlier.